The BC government is asking citizens to be prepared for evacuation orders or alerts as the ongoing threat of wildfires continues to grow.

Evacuations can cause stress due to having to leave one’s home under short notice, and the government says that ‘the most important thing to remember is to stay calm, listen to local public officials, and if possible, access online social media channels like BC Wildfire, the EmergencyInfoBC Twitter page or your local government website for information updates.’

For those in wildfire-threatened areas, the government says to be prepared to leave your home under short notice.

Tips for those who hear an evacuation warning are as follows:

  • Prepare to leave your home on short notice.
  • Have your emergency kit and important documents ready to go, which should include things like insurance and personal papers, such as birth certificates. Also pack:
    • several days’ clothing;
    • medicine/prescriptions;
    • comfort items for children, like a favorite toy or coloring books to help keep them busy; and
    • leashes, carriers and food for pets.
  • Consider collecting precious photos and mementoes that cannot be replaced.

Tips for those who need to follow an immediate evacuation order are as follows:

  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes to help protect from unforeseen hazards.
  • Take critical items already in your kit (medicine, purse, wallet and keys). Take pets in kennels or on a leash. Take a cellphone if you have one.
  • Collect family members or go to the place designated in your family plan as a meeting place.
  • Plan to take pets with you; do not leave them behind. Because pets are not permitted in public shelters, follow your plan to go to a relative or friend’s home, or find a pet-friendly hotel.
  • Grab your emergency kit and follow the directions to the identified reception centre.
  • Follow the routes specified by emergency officials. Avoid shortcuts – they could lead to a blocked or dangerous area.
  • If going to an evacuation centre, sign up with the registration desk so you can be contacted or reunited with family and loved ones.
  • Close all doors and windows. Close and latch gates, but do not lock them.
  • If there is time and it is safe to do so, shut off water at the main line into your home and switch off electricity at the breaker panel. Leave natural gas service “on.”
  • Stay well away from any downed power lines.
  • Contact your out-of-area emergency contact (identified in your personal emergency plan) to let them know what has happened, that you are alright and how to contact you. Alert them to any separated family members.

Evacuees are encouraged to register online.

For information on evacuation orders and alerts, visit EmergencyInfoBC: https://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/

Keep up-to-date on the provincial wildfire situation: www.bcwildfire.ca

Road closures: http://www.drivebc.com

Wildfire preparedness: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc/know-your-hazards/wildfires